SolarisKit was established in 2019, to harness solar energy in an affordable, practical way to heat water, by mechanical engineer Dr Faisal Ghani. He launched the venture after reading about energy usage in Rwanda, where a large portion of household income is required to cover heating bills.
The firm says its S400 flat-packable solar thermal collector is one of the easiest and cheapest solar thermal collectors to install in the world – and can be used to heat above-ground pools in the summer, or provide hot water to camping and glamping sites. It also created an S200 model.
The spin-out from Heriot-Watt University, which is now based in Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc, said in May that 80 units of the S200 have been shipped to Rwanda.
The firm being accepted onto Amazon Launchpad gives it access to what is billed as an exclusive, invitation-only programme designed for innovative and unique brands to accelerate their growth on Amazon. SolarisKit said it earned its place in the scheme thanks to Dr Ghani’s experience in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Climate Entrepreneur Accelerator.
The three-month digital programme helped catalyse SolarisKit, enabling the team to establish a commercial plan, network, and find investors to back the product. A seminar on how to achieve B Corp status – an endorsement of sustainability and green credentials – was also provided through the initiative. Currently, SolarisKit is a B Corp pending company, with certification expected by the end of the year.
Its S400 kit is now on sale on Amazon, while SolarisKit has pledged to have 25 trees planted globally for each kit sold, through a partnership with Eden Reforestation Project. “With ambitious plans to sell up to 160 S200 thermal collectors per week, SolarisKit is set to contribute to the planting of 4,000 trees, offsetting roughly 40,000 kilogrammes of carbon per year,” the Scottish firm said.
RBS, a principal partner of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, recently relaunched its Entrepreneur Accelerator with a climate focus after finding that supporting scale-ups and a shift towards sustainability could help unlock £140 billion in economic growth.
The lender also became SolarisKit’s first UK customer, with plans in place to install the thermal collector at its Gogarburn HQ in Edinburgh.
SolarisKit CEO Dr Ghani said: “This exciting next step in our journey is testament to the valuable lessons learned through [RBS’] Climate Accelerator. Amazon Launchpad has a keen focus on supporting sustainable and we caught their eye thanks to the bank’s robust support. Through this new partnership, we hope to reach new markets that will enable us to make a real change to rising carbon emissions through the decarbonisation of heat and our reforestation commitment.”
Paula Ritchie, enterprise director at RBS, said: “From trials in Rwanda to the development of a new product combining the thermal collector with a water storage tank, SolarisKit’s journey has been remarkable since graduating from our Climate Accelerator. Amazon Launchpad is set to propel the business to further success whilst contributing to climate change in a meaningful way, and we look forward to continuing to follow Dr Ghani’s journey.”